I had a little bit of time yesterday (as you may be able to tell from my lengthy review of Majora’s Mask… I still feel like there’s more to say about it though… Maybe in a video, hmm?) so I watched the next thing on my list of things to watch that are Ghost in the Shell: Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is kind of unique in that it takes place after the events of the first Ghost in the Shell movie, but revolves loosely around chapter 6 in the original manga: Robot Rondo. This is kind of weird, because the last part of the first movie is actually what happens at he end of the first manga, so… They had to move some characters and events around. Batou takes the spotlight this time around, and most members of Section 9 don’t even get any screentime. Batou plays the brooding hero this time around instead of the overtly goofy Batou that is in the manga (and sometimes we see in Stand Alone Complex). Togusa and Ishikawa play a decent role too, but the movie is mainly revolving around Batou. The story revolves around gynoids, sex doll robots, suddenly malfunctioning and killing their owners and even attempting self termination. It could be a act of terrorism, so Section 9 is called in to investigate. It’s a pretty solid story (I mean, what else do you expect from Ghost in the Shell?), but what I really want to talk about is the presentation.

MAN this movie looks great. It’s clear that the same artist didn’t draw the characters, as the characters are pretty realistic, especially the gynoids, which gives them this creepy feel, like they’re constantly watching. I almost didn’t even recognize Ishikawa at first. But what they really wanted to show off is the 3D effects. Almost every background is done in CG, as well as many effects, and the animation, especially for the action scenes, are amazing. Ghost in the Shell, at least in anime and movies tends to be a bit whimsical, very black, blue, and neon, but GitS 2: Innocence decides to go with that gritty theme with a lot of browns and rust colors. Innocence depicts a dark and dingy world, that almost seems out of character if you’ve watched other GitS content, but it actually fits and works really well. I would love to see more of this kind of GitS.

Another interesting design choice that I think is fantastic is that a number of events in the movie seem like they could be out of a horror movie, with strange phenomenon, scenes that happen more than once in a strange way, and the way the shots are set up and played out. Even the way the characters sometimes react make them seem like they belong in a horror movie. There’s even a minor jump scare, but not enough to make you shoot out of your seat. I really loved these creepy elements, and again, they really seemed to fit with the story and setting.

Unfortunately, if you’re not familiar with the GitS universe, this movie is probably not the best starting point. You kind of need to know the cast and setting already, and without that, you might feel a little lost. That said, if you’re a GitS fan, or at least know a bit about it, I’d highly recommend this movie. Even if you’re not a GitS fan and just want a flashy, thought-provoking flick, check it out anyway, just don’t expect to catch everything. At any rate, I highly recommend it. Really good movie. Check it out!